Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, photographer, and director Karim Kassem has worked on films, music videos, and commercials between New York, Lebanon, parts of Europe and the Far East. Before moving to Berlin, Karim accidentally ended up in New York and has been there ever since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Karim's interests lean towards film direction, metaphysics, psychology and music composition. He is currently writing a novel about his unorthodox nomadic experiences in New York City and also developing his first feature film about blindness.
Karim on his beginnings in photography:
"I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon at the end of the civil war in 1990. My dad was a news cameraman for 17 years but never taught me much about cameras. He moved more into producing films for TV for NBC and Vice via Lebanon. It may have influenced me somehow, but I was never directly moved into that world by him. I was first a musician and DJ until my second year in university when I took a black and white film photography course. My professor "noticed" me and decided to fly me with him alongside the Indonesian embassy to Indonesia in order to document the landmarks. After that trip, I haven't left my camera behind. I did, however, realize later in time, that I had shot lots of narrative-driven sketches when I was about 14 or 15 but never gave it too much thought. In short, that's how my involvement behind cameras transpired. We never really look at something until it's in a frame I reckon. I am now mainly a director and cinematographer working in film but photograph seriously although I don't make a living from it. I'm not sure how quite frankly. Other than that, I meditate frequently (been 8 years) and write almost every day. I have a novel coming out next year about how I ended up accidentally living in 24 apartments in 5 months for $0 in New York." — Karim Kassem
What this series is about:
"This work stems from something I'd like to call Extended Patience, which is inherently a cosmic and peripheral way at approaching my own photography. Perhaps because most things I photograph take me a lot of time to render. I also shoot film so it disciplines me. It provokes me and the way I end up paying attention to things. A good example would be walking for six days before even taking one picture. I prefer the world outside of studios, as I'm always subject to surprises and peculiar inspiration. I may go out to photograph strangers and end up photographing plastic bags floating in the air or someone's neck on the subway. Extended Patience originates from my continuous endeavor to just be patient. If a heart stops beating, I am happy to wait and listen to what happens after." — Karim Kassem
Why Karim uses film as his medium of choice:
"The process is exciting at times, but demanding for the most part. I try to have a concept behind most of what I shoot, as it makes it easier to target what I need. But again, there's always an element of surprise. I recently launched a new page which has been a notion brewing in my mind for three years. It's called "People I Could've Fallen in Love With". It functions as a way for me to go out and connect to people in a disconnected way. It's momentary, it's nerve-racking and it's open to infinity. Stopping complete strangers on the street to tell them that you may have fallen in love with them in 2019 sounds bizarre, but where's the thrill when it's painless? I use a mix of 35mm and 120 and shuffle around lots of cameras while focusing more on the concepts and less on the actual equipment. Whatever the project is, it has its own camera and purpose. There is no better camera than the right camera for each circumstance. Shooting film is directly related to my discipline and that is what I enjoy most about it. Of course, it has the benefit of the look and the dynamic range which is unquestionable. But at the end of the day, an orderliness and thought behind when to take the picture or not is what allows me to continue on film." — Karim Kassem